Ostriches’ flying technique provides clues to dino moves

July 1st, 2010 - 1:16 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, July 1 (ANI): The way ostriches use their limbs and wings may provide clues about how its dinosaur ancestors moved, say researchers.

German scientists said that wing-use and hind limb function in ostriches might help palaeontologists in their quest to reconstruct locomotor techniques in bipedal (two-legged) dinosaurs.

Their study shows that these giant birds consistently use their wings during rapid breaking, turning and zigzag manoeuvres.

This could mean that dinosaurs, such as the 8m long Gigantoraptor, also used feathered forelimbs for increased stability and manoeuvrability when moving at speed.

According to lead researcher Dr Nina Schaller, a small intertarsal muscle plays a crucial role in ostrich locomotion. If a comparable mechanism existed in extinct theropod dinosaurs that shared similar running styles and habitat, the energetic cost of carrying a heavy body would have been reduced, leaving the dinosaur more fuel to run longer and faster.

The researchers will work further to establish additional links between the ostrich and theropod dinosaur locomotion. (ANI)

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